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Why Generation X Can’t Afford to Retire

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Maria Panaritis writes an interesting story on what Generation X can expect from their pensions and wages as they prepare to retire from the workforce.

Generation Xers are considered the group born after the baby boomers during the mid-1960s through the early 1980s.

A former Temple University professor quoted in Panaritis story gives this piece of advice for 30- and 40-somethings when it comes to saving for retirement: "I'd pretend I was 20 years older so I wouldn't be a Gen Xer, I'd be a Baby Boomer."

Sadly, Generation X may be the first group to not maintain their standard of living during retirement. Their baby boomer predecessors receive Social Security and Medicare benefits as they prepare to leave the workforce, while Generation X continues to live on a wing and a prayer.

A Washington Post story earlier this week pointed out it's important to  realize what’s at stake for younger generations as they consider working in the public sector.  With the political threats in states heating up, combined with municipalities struggling to balance their budgets, many young workers may view public sector work as less than attractive today.

In addition, Generation X continues to deal with a number of financial constraints -- such as flat wages, mortgage debt and disappearing 401 (K) accounts thanks to two stock market crashes.

Panaritis' story puts a different spin on the issue because it brings to light how one generation will be affected by  the pension conundrum.

Fire fighters in pension fights in states like California, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire and New Jersey can’t back down because too much is at risk, including losing young men and women who want to make a difference, but who may think twice knowing they may not have a viable retirement to support them and their families.

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